I’d be lying if I told you that I don’t think the Flyers are a good team. They have offensive depth, solid goaltending and arguably the most complete forward in the game (Claude Giroux). I know I’ll get a lot of heat from Crosby fans for saying that, but I really like Giroux’s game. He didn’t burst onto the scene like Sidney did, but man is he ever good. Even without Chris Pronger in the line-up, that Flyers team is still a mighty good one. So why did I even give any thought that the Lightning could win that game?
The Lightning are in shambles; there’s no two ways about it. The team looks disinterested, uninvolved and just plain lazy. The loss of St. Louis, the true heart and soul of the team, only compounds the issues that were plaguing the roster before.
Things aren’t going well right now. The team’s offense has just dried up and so have the wins. With a record of 3-7-0 in the last 10, there’s no way that the Lightning can make the playoffs playing like this. To start the season, who would have thought that this group would only be able to have potted 75 goals in 29 games? The Winnipeg Jets have scored more goals than our Lightning. Where’s their Stamkos? Where’s their St. Louis? You get the picture.
Things started out really well last night. The Lightning had some great chances early and Bryzgalov was equal to the task. The cross-crease save off Downie really springs to mind. It wasn’t until Moore found Shannon from the half boards that the Bolts put one past the Philly tender. It was a beautiful pass and I’m not sure that any goalie could have saved that.
The Flyers’ first goal was just plain stupid. Puck mismanagement at the offensive blue-line by Gervais made the entire sequence come to fruition. Once again this speaks to the defensive depth of the hockey team. Can we please have Ohlund back?
After that, the game was just a blur. The Lightning really didn’t have a shot, even when the game was at 3-2. The Flyers are a better team right now in every facet of the game. They are riding some hot play from good players and that’s a pretty simple recipe for success if you ask me.
One of these days the Lightning are going to have to wake up and see one of these good teams and see that they can be one too. I keep bringing up the Vancouver analogy, but it really does hold true. For two years in a row now, the Canucks have been off to brutal starts and it wasn’t until an emotional loss that their season turned around. The Lightning need to fight, have emotion and want to win. When you lose a game badly but still play like that, then the season has a good chance of turning around.
So I suppose that the real reason for this post-game blog was to highlight my biggest concern with the Lightning last night. Do you think there is a book out on Guy Boucher’s defensive schemes right now? I surely do. The Tampa slot looked like a McDonald’s drive thru. How many chances and opportunities were created from the hash marks right in the center of the ice? Last I checked, protecting the middle of the ice was some pretty elementary hockey knowledge. Even the NHL 12 video game has it figured out.
I get that the Philly players are mighty talented and it’s tough to play against them, but come on, the Flyers didn’t even have to work for that prime real estate. It’s not the holidays yet, Bolts! Invite your guests in after we stop playing hockey.
It’s an issue that can be straightened out pretty easily at practice, but nevertheless, it was concerning to see. Right now, I don’t feel as though the coaching staff is doing enough to get the team out of this little funk. Hey, I hear Randy Carlyle is available. I kid, I kid. I do not want to see Boucher get the boot nor do I think he will. That being said, maybe a change of philosophy is in order?
One last thing, I give a lot of props to Jaromir Jagr. Even at 39, the guy is more electric than 95% of players in the league. Every time he touches the puck I find myself waiting to see what he is going to do with great anticipation. Glad to see that he can still play the NHL game and be very effective. Like him or not, you’ve got to say that he is a good guy to have in this league.
The Lightning take on the New Jersey Devils on Monday night in what should be a VERY winnable game.
Thanks for reading and have a good night.
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